Valentine’s Day Rice Sensory Bin for Toddlers and Kids

featured image valentine's day rice sensory bin

This Valentine’s Day Rice Sensory Bin is the perfect simple activity to entertain your littles for Valentine’s Day and when they’re stuck inside with the cold winter weather.

biscuits and grading valentine's day rice sensory bin

We’ve hit the part of winter where the temperatures are negative and the windchills are like -25, so we’re not going outside. At all.

And with all the COVID restrictions, nothing is open for us to do. So I am on the hunt for all the activities that I haven’t pulled out in a while or new ones that I can make easily.

Cam saw his Easter sensory bin the other day and asked to play with it. That got me thinking – a pink, red and white rice bin would be perfect for Valentine’s Day! He kept asking for a new sensory bin and this one was a winner!

Make sure you check out our other Valentine’s Day activities, like this Love You to Pieces paper collage and these adorable love monsters!

How to Color Rice for the Valentine’s Day Rice Sensory Bin

You’ll need: 2 cups of rice for each color (6 cups total for red, pink and white), water, pink and red food coloring

add water and fodd coloring to valentine's day rice  sensory bin 1

Measure 2 cups of rice into a sandwich-sized zip top bag. Mix together 1 tsp of water and about 20 drops of pink coloring. Pour the food coloring into the bag of rice and zip the top shut. Shake and squish the rice to completely color all the rice.

Tip: This is a GREAT part for the kids to help with! You might want to double bag the rice, but then let them shake the bag all over the place!

pink and red rice for sensory bin 1

Repeat the process with 2 cups of rice and red food coloring + water. Once all the rice is colored, pour each bag out onto a paper towel or piece of foil. Spread the rice as thinly as possible and let dry for 1-2 hours.

Tip: Make sure the rice is fully dry before adding to the bin. This prevents staining on your child’s hands, the objects in the bin, or the floor that the rice will inevitably fall on.

Assemble the Valentine’s Day Rice Sensory Bin

red white pink rice for valentine's day sensory bin 1

Once the pink and red rice is completely dry, pour the red, white and pink rice into the bin. I poured each one in its own little section to start, but rest assured, that will only last for 10 seconds before my son mixes it all together! If you prefer, you can jump dump all three colors in and mix them together from the start. The preference is all yours.

valentine's day rice sensory bin with toys 1

Once the rice is in your bin, add items your toddler or child can use to stir, pour, scoop, push, lift, and dig in the rice. I added some little bulldozer trucks, a bucket, a fork and spoon, some lids from pouches, and a scoop. As time goes on, I’ll take some of those things out and switch them for other things that I come up with.

Tip: Switching out the objects in the bin keeps kids interested and keeps their brains engaged.

How to Keep Your Rice Sensory Bin from Making a HUGE Mess

boy playing with valentine's day sensory rice bin

Let’s get this out of the way from the start: rice is going to make a mess. It’s not a destructive mess, but it can be messy.

That said, there are some things you can do to keep the mess more contained.

My favorite tip is to use a kiddie pool. Bring in your kiddie pool – this works especially well in the winter, because your pool is probably empty and dry. I set the sensory bin container in the middle of the pool and have my toddler sit in the pool as well. That way, when the rice grains fall out of the container, they’re contained in the pool. It makes it easy to pour them back in at the end of play time.

You can also lay down a towel and put the bin and your toddler on that. When he or she is done playing, you can pour the rice from the towel back in the bin or into the trash.

But also: keep your hand vacuum handy if you’ve got one. If a big rice spill happens, it’s easy to vacuum it up before it gets kicked all over.

A Quick List of Our Favorite Sensory Bins:

Fake Snow Sensory Bin

Water Play Sensory Bin

Easter Egg Sensory Bin

Dollar Store Halloween Sensory Bin

Packing Peanut Construction Sensory Bin

Want More Sensory / Learning Activities?

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